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A List of Non-Custodial Parent Expenses

written by: theMallorys•edited by: Donna Cosmato•updated: 6/14/2011

Figuring out non-custodial expenses is an important part of being a divorced or separated parent. The custodial parent often has a legal right to financial help from the non-custodial parent. Use this list to try to come to a reasonable agreement on expenses.

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    Both parents are responsible for the care and well being of their child, and there are some non-custodial expenses that a parent who does not have custody must pay for. Some parents are able to work out expenses on their own without a court intervention, and that’s the best recourse. State laws vary on the percentage that the non-custodial parent must pay, and it may also depend on the type of cost. Here’s a list of expenses to address when you’re working out an agreement with the non-custodial parent, or if you want to know what to expect from court proceedings.

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    1 – Food

    Non-custodial expenses include the costs of food and beverages. The non-custodial parent has to share the costs of paying for groceries, including snacks, and at the standard the child is used to as long as the costs are reasonable. For example, if the child was raised on organic foods, then it would be reasonable to pay for that even though it costs more than non-organic foods.

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    2 – Shelter

    A portion of the expenses associated with the dwelling place of the custodial parent has to be paid for by the non-custodial parent for sheltering the child. The expenses include utility costs, such as heat and electricity.

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    3 – Clothing

    Paying for clothing can sometimes be a contentious issue between parents who are divorced or separated, because the non-custodial parent finds that the costs are unreasonable. It is a part of the non-custodial expenses that has to be paid for, such as winter coats and shoes. The problem often arises when one parent wants to pay for high end clothing, and the other does not.

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    4 – Medical Expenses

    The non-custodial parent has to share the costs of medical expenses that are not covered by insurance. These can include deductibles and co-pays as well as medical treatments that are uninsured. There are also basic medical needs, such as getting a new pair of eyeglasses, that the non-custodial parent has to help pay for.

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    5 – Fees for Education

    Whether the child is homeschooled, attends a private school, or is in public school, there are always costs associated with education that need to be addressed. The non-custodial parent must share in those costs, whether they are for purchasing curriculum or field trips in the case of a child who is homeschooled, or uniforms and books in the case of a child attending a private school. Some states also require the non-custodial parent to share the costs of paying for higher education if the child is a minor, and a few states require payment even if the child is no longer a minor.

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    6 – Extracurricular Activities

    A parent can also expect to pay for extracurricular activities that are not related to educational fees. Some examples are piano lessons, horseback riding lessons, participation in sports leagues, and monthly club dues. Camps are also included in fees for extracurricular activities, such as summer and winter camps.

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    7 – Travel Costs

    Another major area of contention between parents is travel costs. The non-custodial parent has to share in the costs of the child’s travel that are associated with visitation. There are also costs associated with everyday transportation, which may require the non-custodial parent to pay for the custodial parent’s car maintenance and other car related expenses.

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    Non-custodial expenses change as circumstances change, which will require parents to make adjustments to their agreements. The key is being open and honest about the financial needs of the child, and if you need to, consider the help of a mediator to reach an agreement.

    Image Credit: Harrison Keely

    References: Additional Child Support of Extraordinary Expenses Child Support Guidelines